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Public hearing 19: Measures taken by employers and regulators to respond to the systemic barriers to open employment for people with disability

The Royal Commission held Public hearing 19 from 22 to 26 November 2021. An additional day for oral submissions was held on 10 March 2022.

Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and impacts, all witnesses participated remotely and the hearing was conducted online. The hearing was not open to the public but was live streamed on our website.

Public hearing 19 continued the Royal Commission’s inquiries into the systemic barriers to open employment that started with Public hearing 9. Public hearing 9 was led by people with disability, who spoke about their experience in navigating pathways to open employment.

The objective of this hearing was to explore:

  • how public and private sector employers together with other key actors address the systemic barriers identified in Public hearing 9

  • potential measures to eliminate the barriers to open employment that cause or contribute to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability.

At Public hearing 19, the Royal Commission examined the public and private sector employers’ policies and practices for employment and retaining employees with disability. The issues examined at the hearing included:

  • experiences of people with disability in obtaining and retaining employment

  • the efficacy of the Australian Government’s overarching strategy in relation to increasing the employment of people with disability in safe and inclusive jobs

  • reasonable adjustments in the workplace, including policies and processes for provision of adjustments

  • what employers are doing to build inclusive workplaces, promote employment opportunities and support career advancement for people with disability

  • data collection, accountability and reporting by public and private sector employers

  • what workplace regulators are doing to provide information, resources and support to employers and people with disability in relation to employment issues

  • the operation of laws and institutions intended to protect people with disability at work, including anti-discrimination and employment law frameworks.

The focus of Public hearing 19 was open employment. The Royal Commission intends to further consider the Disability Employment Services program, and segregated employment settings, in later hearings and work of the Royal Commission.